Training Program Mobile Apps – Maybe a Way to Go?

Technology combined with our “need it now” society has really pushed developers to design and produce mobile applications that serve athletes better. Though I believe that coaching is what takes place between the coach and the athlete – not what is written in a program – we are getting closer all the time to quality coaching through technology.

Since late last year I have consulted with a group in their development of a new mobile running application. I know there is a lot of competition out there. But, as a result of my work with runBSX and learning about their interest in developing a high quality, interactive and personalized training mobile application I am impressed with the direction apps are taking… more specifically that runBSX is taking.

What follows are some excerpts from runBSX about their app.

What makes runBSX Run Coach training plans different?

  • Custom training plans written by real coaches that you know and believe in. No more pre-written one-size-fits-all plans by someone (or some computer!) that doesn’t know you
  • Training plans are customized for plan length, session frequency and training days that match your demanding schedule
  • Personalization to your athletic ability through five training zones and your customized running pace
  • onTrack coaching provides real-time visual and audio cues to keep you at your target pace during every workout
  • Tips and advice from your coach on a weekly and daily basis

Here is an app introduction.

Here is an app introduction to the Assessment Function.

Here is an app introduction to the Run Social function.

More than just a running log or stat keeper this app has some neat features.

All of your runs are also synced to the cloud for free at runBSX.com.  Just log in with the same credentials as the app and check it out.  Online, you can track and trend your performance by year, month, week or day and view detailed recaps of specific runs. You can also view your friends’ stats including duration, distance and calories to see how you stack up to stay motivated.

Track your performance and stay motivated with runGoalTM which allows you to set a specific goal for an individual run. Goals include:

  • Distance
  • Duration
  • Calorie total
  • Indulgence to burn off (hamburger, ice cream cone, beer etc.)
  • Time spent in a running zone (pace)

The app also has an assessment function. What is interesting and what was appealing to me is that it uses a 6-minute test. That is an excellent measure of vVO2max for the majority of runners.

The goal of the 6-minute audio-guided runAssessment is to cover as much ground as possible by maintaining the fastest constant pace for the entire time. During the first minute, runBSX will calibrate to find your target pace. During the final five minutes, runBSX gives you audio and visual prompts to help you stay at your target pace.  You’ll hear an ascending (or descending) tone when you need to speed up (or slow down) and the screen will also visually prompt you when you slip out of your target pace.

It also has a strong social support/connection feature.

  • Unlimited social runs – connect and run in real-time with friends anywhere in the world
  • In app voice calling – challenge, encourage, or just talk with your friends while you run
  • runTrackTM – an on-screen track visually shows you how far ahead or behind you are of your competition
  • Audio Cues – always know what place you’re in, lap and split times, and mile updates
  • OOMFTM – levels the playing field so that friends of any ability level can compete against one another

The app has specific workout plans developed by real coaches. At this time my runBSX plans include:

  • 10-week Beginner 5k
  • 10-week Intermediate 5K PR
  • 16-week Beginner First Half-marathon
  • 16-week Intermediate Half-marathon PR
  • 17-week Intermediate/Advanced Boston Qualifier Marathon
  • 24-week Intermediate First Ultra-marathon
  • 8-week Intermediate Speed Strength Phase I
  • 8-week Intermediate Running Strength Hills Training
  • 8-week Speed Training for Distance Runners (coming soon)
  • 20-week Beginner Marathon 101 (coming soon)

Future training program releases will be specifically for the 10K as well as a general endurance building program. As many of you know about me, these programs are based in research and science as well as practice. They are quality over quantity approaches. (There are other programs available through runBSX from other coaches from around the US.) And these high quality programs are purchased at a fraction of the price of regular custom designed running programs from coaches. And though being coached via mobile app may not be for everyone, it may be just the thing for some runners.

I believe that though this start-up group recently released the app; this is a group and an app to be reckoned with. The technical research & development combined with the practical research (reaching out to real coaches for advice and direction) make this something worth the try.

Currently only offered for iPhones the Android version will be coming out after summer. Download the FREE runBSX app here.

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About Dean Hebert

I’m a mental game coach, author and speaker. I work with individual athletes, parents, coaches, and teams on sports performance enhancement. Beyond my academic post-graduate work in sports psychology - the psychology behind athlete performance – I am a certified Mental Games Coaching Professional (MGCP) and certified hypnotherapist. I’ve authored several books and hundreds of articles. “Coach, I didn’t run because…” (2008) is a seriously light-hearted look at making excuses not to workout and how to overcome them. “Focus for Fitness” (2009) and “Screw the Goals Give me the Donut” (2010) are two of my eBooks on mental game approaches for the everyday athlete. I wrote these because I believe that everyone can benefit from the powerful mental techniques that the world’s best athletes use. I have been cited in Runners World, Best Health magazine (CN), SWEAT Magazine, and the Washington Examiner amongst many other publications. I have been a featured mental games coach in Runner’s World and for the internationally acclaimed trail running resource - trailrunningclub.com. I also regularly appear on sports and fitness talk shows such as LTKFitness, Runnersroundtable and for more than three years I have co-hosted a weekly video series with Coach Joe English for Running-Advice.com. I specialize in mental toughness training. My clients include tennis, synchronized swimming, golf, race-kart, soccer, motocross, volleyball, MMA, cycling (road, off-road, time-trialist), running, duathlon and triathlon, basketball, football and baseball athletes. I have coached world-class athletes and athletes internationally. I have a passion for working with youth athletes and helping them apply mental game skills and techniques to all areas of life. Most importantly, my aim is to have people enjoy sports and life to their fullest through peak performances.
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